Penguin burrows empty
AMY GLASS - The Press
The West Coast Blue Penguin Trust has been monitoringcolonies in Charleston and Punakaiki. Trust ranger Reuben Lane said the penguin numbers were in "significant decline".
"I've been amazed at the lack of penguins. We have burrows that should have birds in them, but they don't," he said.
Lane believed 100 blue penguins, or korora, were using 30 burrows in Charleston.
The colony was one of the country's largest, he said.
Loss of habitat and road accidents appeared to be the main reasons for the decline, he said.
Fourteen birds had been killed this breeding season as they tried to cross roads to get to their nests. Another three died from dog attacks.
Lane said the trust was considering putting up fences to prevent the birds from walking across roads.